Documents roll in -- UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Documents roll in -- UPDATE

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2007 at 5:05 PM

The University of Arkansas responded today to my request for documents related to the written contract guarantees for Houston Nutt's assistant football coaches. I was curious how these guarantees  came to be authorized and why. Not much by way of answers in the documents. I'm having trouble with the uploading, so I'll just have to omit posting them for the time being. They are brief, nearly identical letters to each of the assistants (only the dates of the extensions vary), signed by Frank Broyles and Houston Nutt, with copies to Chuck Dicus at the Razorback Foundation and Scott Varady, the university's lawyer. They purport to restate commitments to multi-year contracts by Nutt. Here  is a list of salaries and contract lengths provided earlier to the Democrat-Gazette's original FOI request on the subject. (If that last hyperlink takes you to a subscription page, copy and paste the following instead)

Associate Vice Chancellor Tysen Kendig said in his cover letter to me:

In regard to your request for copies of any correspondence related to this matter, I'm told by athletics that no such records -- electronic or hard-copy -- exist beyond what is attached in this email.

Hmm. I wonder if that includes text messsages?

I'm awaitng answers on protocol: May department heads unilaterally extend employment contracts of university employees without approval from the chancellor, board of trustees, etc.? I don't know. If so, you could imagine any number of scenarios that would suggest that's not such a hot idea. But I guess if it's ok with the Razorback Foundation, it's ok with the university.

UPDATE: The short answer to my main question seems to be that continuing employment questions are left to an employee's immediate supervisor. And that the multi-year guarantee on the contracts are the responsibility of the Razorback Foundation, not the university. The university, by the way, says any contracts are in the hands of the foundation and thus not a public document so far as they are concerned, even though, while they are enforced, they are partially paid with publicly appropriated money. I disagree with that interpretation.

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